It’s planting season finally, here in Central Alberta. And as I carefully rolled tiny seeds into their beds of soil and tucked them in, I imagined in my mind just how things would start to look in a few weeks. Part of being a gardener is imagining the future, because if you don’t plan how to space your seeds, things could get rather cramped or haphazard.
I marvel at how a seed looks nothing like the plant it will grow into. A sweet pea seed is just a tiny brown ball with nothing to hint at it’s shape or color or perfume. A carrot seed is a tiny sliver that tells you nothing about it’s ferny tops or long orange, yellow or purple cone-shape roots that will taste crisp and sweet. A pea is wrinkled and though it does look somewhat like what you would see later on, nothing indicates that it will be joined by others like itself, all wrapped in a pod and growing on a leafy vine.
I let the seeds slip from my hands–the crumpled spheres, the wee-bitty smooth balls, the slender slivers, the wrinkled orbs, the flat discs, the slight flakes–and marvel that these little things contain the ideas, the nature and the very life of something so much greater than themselves.
And so it is much like how we could approach the idea of life beyond death. The resurrected bodies we are told to look forward too. Perhaps even idea of God’s kingdom here now and yet still to come.
You look at my garden now and it’s almost impossible to imagine what it will look like with all the plants. It’s barren and dead, though the bare-bones framework is there. The structure of the garden is visible and as I work at tilling up the ground, working in the compost and rotted manure, picking out the bits of glass or rock or rusted nails the frost heaved from the depths, I am constantly imagining and plotting and strategizing where I am going to grow my plants. And of course thinking about WHICH plants to grow beside which other plants, so that I get the best chance at a bumper crop, with less risk of disease.
To the outsider it’s just a bare patch of dirt. To me it’s hope and future and possibility and I wonder if God, much like a gardener, sees the world with such eyes. He can SEE things others can’t and He works always to that end, with his eye always bent toward growth and life. He can visualize the garden through the seeds.
And the seeds. We as humans, much like the seeds, are a mere apparition of what is to come, or rather what we are to become.
How could anyone possibly begin to imagine what it’s all going to be like as God grows His kingdom if all we know and are capable of understanding is like that barren patch of dirt or tiny dry seeds? We have no idea what our bodies will become, we have no idea what God’s kingdom is going to look like. But there are hints . . . all around us God has planted signs and pictures of what we can look forward to–a glimpse at the mystery of the resurrection to come. And it’s fascinating for me to wonder at that. If God could design a little brown orb to grow into a tall leafy green vine that burst forth in ambrosial perfume-y flowers of a wondrous myriad of hues . . . just think of what he could do for what is considered the star of His creation!
I agree with the Apostle Paul that there is no other way to view this, than we will be “GLORIOUS”!
35-38 Some skeptic is sure to ask, “Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this ‘resurrection body’ look like?” If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.
39-41 You will notice that the variety of bodies is stunning. Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form. You get a hint at the diversity of resurrection glory by looking at the diversity of bodies not only on earth but in the skies—sun, moon, stars—all these varieties of beauty and brightness. And we’re only looking at pre-resurrection “seeds”—who can imagine what the resurrection “plants” will be like!
42-44 This image of planting a dead seed and raising a live plant is a mere sketch at best, but perhaps it will help in approaching the mystery of the resurrection body—but only if you keep in mind that when we’re raised, we’re raised for good, alive forever! The corpse that’s planted is no beauty, but when it’s raised, it’s glorious. Put in the ground weak, it comes up powerful. The seed sown is natural; the seed grown is supernatural—same seed, same body, but what a difference from when it goes down in physical mortality to when it is raised up in spiritual immortality!
1 Corinthian 15:35-44, MSG